AboutROKEBY is delighted to announce the first solo exhibition in London by Chinese artist Leung Chi Wo. Leung's multi-disciplinary practice ranges from photography and video to text, performance and installation; he is concerned with the undetermined relationship between conception, perception and understanding, especially in relation to site and history within cultural and political frameworks.
Leung's new wide-ranging body of work has taken over two years to complete and continues his reflective practice, which combines historical exploration with conceptual inquiry within a contemporary urban landscape.
Consisting of lightboxes, photographs, print and sculpture the new body of work takes as its starting point, repaired bullet holes found in the Legislative Council Building. Built by English architect Aston Webb, the building is Neoclassical in style and one of the few remaining colonial structures in Hong Kong; the architect took his inspiration from many late 17th- and early 18th-century English architects and buildings, in particular the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral in London by Christopher Wren. LEGCO was completed in 1912, fourteen years after the British and Chinese governments signed the Second Convention of Peking. The building originally housed the Supreme Court of Hong Kong, becoming the Legislative Council Building in 1985, with the return of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China the Chinese name of the building was changed again to reflect the Council's Chinese name.
The year prior to the completion of LEGCO, Aston Webb finished the Queen Victoria Memorial, which stands outside Buckingham Palace, the eastern façade of which he redesigned in 1913. The bullet holes in the LEGCO building are often thought to date to World War II during the battle for Hong Kong; when Japan occupied the island the building became the headquarters of the Hong Kong Military Police.
There is no official account of who was responsible for the hundreds of bullet holes. Historically they have simply been put down to âenemy fire'. In this instance a site of shifting power and conflict - the âenemy' remains anonymous and indefinite. Leung continues his interest in the relativity of perception; how certain histories - and memories -shape our understanding of the world around us; how history is represented and interpreted.
Photographs of the close up bullet holes form light boxes which include statements (in English, Japanese and Chinese) etched upon them, these range from a comment by a Japanese tourist to Only time can tell, the response of Zbigniew Brzezinski former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, commenting upon the One Country Two Systems policy. Another quote includes I'm glad we have been bombed, the now famous quote by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother after Buckingham Palace was bombed by Germany's Luftwaffe in 1940.
Other elements of the series include a further lightbox with a 1913 quote by Webb referring to his desire to beautify London south of the river. Other elements include a set of twelve sandstone sculptures, each a letter spelling âENEMY BOMBING'.
Born in Hong Kong Leung Chi Wo graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, In 1996 he co-founded Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong. Leung Chi Wo has exhibited internationally and represented Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale in 2001.
Leung's work will be included in the forthcoming Marrakech Biennale, he has had numerous solo exhibitions including Hanart TZ, Asia Art Archive and Para/Site, all Hong Kong, and the Queens Museum of Art, New York. His work has been included in several international exhibitions including the Guangzhou Triennial (2008), the Busan Biennale (2006), Gwangju Biennale (2002) and the Shanghai Biennale (2000). Leung has exhibited at Tate Modern, London, PS1, New York, Museu da Imagem e do Som, Sà £o Paulo and the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius amongst others.